An Introduction to AppleScript on Mac OS X
Subject:   how I sort of learned to program but still feel ignorant
Date:   2001-12-18 21:55:13
From:   psheldon
Response to: Dear Santa,

I think the biggest step for me programming was to learn to break things down into small chunks. Programming suddenly, in one week, became fun while the senior programming engineer went on vacation. She expressed mock or actual real jealousy when I came back. I've studied a 800 page book from code warrior on making a puzzle. I really had it illustrated how code can be distributed in a template. All of a sudden, when I was about to finish this monster of a pdf file, the author said, OK you had the example, now go fill in the code to make it not only be a puzzle maker but also a text editor. In other words, the author said you haven't really finished this book until you've written one of your own. That scared me and I didn't make a text editor. On the last pages after that brick wall or stumbling block the author anticipated how much easier would have been that brick wall when the world developes object oriented programming. Then I didn't feel so guilty just finishing that ancient monstor tome and laying it down and getting down to wondering how to approach (again) learning object oriented programming.
I had already taken Apple's object oriented pascal programming $300 kit. The woman narrating sounded too businesslike, but I forced myself to listen to it, longing for her to allow me to watch the video "How to creat a monstor". The professor who was supposed to be interested in object oriented programming went to sleep and, after I got past the video, I could excite my actual thesis advisor in a mere single hour session. Boring women and monstor movies didn't work for me. I immediately learned that Maple and Mathematica had a one liner called dsolve or desolve that would allow me to do wierd math with one line rather than a class library. For a few years, I "fled to parts unknown", but continued to wonder how object oriented programming might affect my studies in physics.
From Mike Beam, I learned that Apple presents you with commented method stubs of distributed code for you to fill in or perhaps make overrides for. Those comments seem reassuring. The notion of putting in overrides or downright additions to your own classes that inherit from fundamental or "Apple supplied" classes intrigued me as a way to modularize and make that programming fun. I got lost out on my own, but that's alright. It will mean that I will respect and remember the tricks taught me pedantically so I won't get lost again. I don't know whether someone else debugging my code teaches me all that much compared to the pain of the bug hanging around bothering me awhile. It's Christmas and finals time and Mike hasn't had time to find where I goofed, so I let it go and do some other reading.
I tried to make things I might enjoy to sort of reinforce what I learned making them and found I could intensely enjoy getting into solving something or other, sort of a soaring free feeling or maybe a feeling of stamina that I'll keep at it until it makes sense.